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Blast in Egypt's Sinai wounds 10

Security said police had begun to evacuate the area after a stolen car stirred suspicion.

FILE: Armoured personnel carriers (APC) of the Egyptian Army patrol on a road close to El Gorah in northeastern Sinai. Picture: EPA.

CAIRO - A car bomb outside a fast food restaurant in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula wounded 10 people late on Tuesday when it exploded as security forces were evacuating a heavily populated area, security and medical sources said.

They said the explosion shook the town of Arish in northern Sinai, a volatile area where security forces have launched a crackdown on militant Islamists they believe were behind attacks that killed 33 of their number last month.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The blast came days after Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt's most active militant group, pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda offshoot Islamic State, which is now facing US-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Security sources said police had begun to evacuate the area after a stolen car parked in the vicinity aroused suspicion.

Parts of northern Sinai have been under emergency rule since two attacks on soldiers and police on 24 October.

Egyptian security forces have also begun to clear border residents from their homes as they establish a 500m deep buffer with the Gaza Strip, provoking anger in an area whose people say has long been neglected by Cairo.

The remote but strategic Sinai Peninsula borders Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal.

Security forces have been squaring off against militants who have killed hundreds of soldiers and police, mostly in Sinai, since the army toppled President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

Attacks on civilian areas are more unusual.

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